Spotlight By: Michael Dance
Chris Evans is the charismatic young up-and-coming star you’ve heard about in flicks like Cellular, and chances are you’ve seen him in the first Fantastic Four movie, in which he plays Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch. He also recently voiced the iconic (for me, at least) role of Casey Jones in the successful Ninja Turtles re-boot TMNT.
For me, though, he’ll always be known as Jake Wyler, the hero of the teen spoof Not Another Teen Movie. It was forgotten quite quickly in theaters, but go rent it. It’s better than all the other genre spoof movies out there, and his performance is hilarious.
The kind of guy he plays in that movie – the affluent, charming, and overly-confident jock type – has stuck with him as he’s risen the ranks: in Cellular he was a carefree surfer in over his head, and now, in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, he once again plays the charming and overly-confident Johnny.
It’s hard to call his similar roles a case of typecasting, however, when he seems to be having such a good time. “What’s not to like about having a superpower? That’s like every little boy’s dream, isn’t it? What kid didn’t run around praying to be Superman? So it’s definitely satisfying the child in me.” In other words, he just wants to have fun, and so do we.
“He’s still Johnny, you can’t change the spots on a leopard,” he says of his character. But the story this time does add some welcome shades to his character. “They did a good job of writing those arcs in…he just learns his place. It’s a team, it’s a family, it’s a unit, that’s how they
Yes, the key word here is family, which all the cast members, including Jessica Alba and Ioan Gruffudd agree is the key to the movie’s success. “One of the reasons they did [financially] well originally is because it’s a family unit,” Evans says. It was the first kind of comic book line that celebrated a group, a team, having to work together, as a family dynamic. There are the parents, and the children, and it’s something that pretty much everyone can relate to. So I think that’s why it’s managed to find a real mainstream audience.”
As for the titular Silver Surfer, Evans found him a welcome addition. “From what I’ve seen from the way they’re going to make him look, it’s just amazing what they can do with computers. I mean, it’s going to look exactly the way it looks in the comic books, which is this amazingly reflective metal. It’s just beautiful to look at.”
Less beautiful was the prospect of Evans donning the makeup usually reserved for Michael Chiklis‘s The Thing. In the film, an interaction with the Surfer causes Johnny to accidentally be able to switch powers. “You get a lot of respect for him,” he says. “To go through that makeup every day, I mean one day was fine. You get a little claustrophobic, but you keep waiting for the end of the day when you can just rip it off. I can’t imagine being able to swallow the pill of getting up and doing it all over again the next day. I really tip my hat to Michael.”
An even further progression of Evans’ character is the possbility of a real romance with a
Next up for Evans are two very different roles. In the Scarlett Johansson vehicle The Nanny Diaries, he plays her love interest, a charming guy next door. But it’s Danny Boyle‘s Sunshine that really sounds interesting: Evans costars with the likes of Cillian Murphy as an astronaut sent to reignite the sun; a lot of bizarre things happen along the way. It’s already opened to rave reviews overseas.
When asked what people will like about Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Evans replies with the type of confidence that made him a star in the first place: “I don’t think there’s anything that they won’t enjoy in this film. I think there’s a lot of great characters, a lot of great action, I think it’s funny and entertaining. The special effects are unbelievable. And there’s a nice family dynamic that I think everybody can identify with.”